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Georgetown game approaches record number of ticket sales

The Carrier Dome, with an official capacity of 34,616 seats for basketball, hasn’t had many sell-outs in its nearly33-year history.

The Syracuse faithful are on the brink of this accomplishment as the Syracuse men’s basketball team prepares to host its longtime rival Georgetown on Feb. 23. The game will mark the final time the two programs meet in Syracuse as members of the Big East conference in the regular season.

Syracuse University Athletics has already sold 32,000 seats, and anticipates selling about 34,600 in total, said Jeremiah Maher, associate athletics director for ticket operations.

The Dome record for number of attendees at a basketball game is 34,616, when the Orange hosted the Villanova Wildcats in 2010, Maher said.

“We would expect that it would be somewhere in that neighborhood,” Maher said. “There is the potential to exceed that number based on some configurations and some additional seating that we’ve added since that game.”

If the Dome crowd does break the venue’s attendance record, it will be not only the largest crowd at a Syracuse home game, but also the largest on-campus basketball crowd nationally.

“I think the biggest reason is that Georgetown is our biggest rivalry, period,” Maher said. “Every year, the Georgetown game is the most anticipated game from the Syracuse fans’ standpoint.”

Carmelo Anthony, current New York Knicks forward and former SU player, is expected to attend game against the Hoyas. Anthony is scheduled to have his jersey retired during the game and hung on the Dome rafters.

Although the university guarantees a seat to any student with season tickets, some students are planning to camp out for more than a day in order to get the best seats available to the storied rivals’ final Big East chapter.

“I’m definitely going to camp out,” said Sam Hyman, a freshman season ticket-holder and broadcast and digital journalism major. “I want to be on television. It might snow a lot, but that’s not going to phase me.”

This game is one of several in which Maher said attendance has increased. Even though the Orange often draws near-capacity crowds, more seats have been filled in Syracuse’s last Big East season.

“For some of our bigger games, we’ve seen a spike,” Maher said. “We saw an increase this year in season tickets.”

Even with the higher demand, the box office has decided not to raise prices for any specific games this season. Instead, it has continued the process of charging more for “premium games,” Maher said. Those home games this year are against Louisville, Notre Dame, Villanova and Georgetown.

The Syracuse basketball team is currently tied for first in the Big East conference with a 6-2 in-conference record. The Hoyas are not too far behind with a 6-3 record.

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